Creating a Dust Bath for Chickens

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

All chickens love dust baths. It’s the ideal activity to keep them happy, entertained, and clean.

Chickens clean themselves by getting dirty and pure chickens are less likely to catch parasites or other major health issues.

Make sure you have plenty of dust baths available so multiple chickens can enjoy their dust bath simultaneously.

chickens taking a dust bath
Credits: @stratford_chickens (IG)

It’s common practice to create a dust bath by digging a hole, but there are more creative ways to make a variety of dust baths inside your chicken run. Chicken dust baths are so easy to make that you can ask your kids to help you.

How to create a dust bath

The easiest way

  1. Look for a quiet, dry location, like under the chicken coop or a shelter
  2. Dig a hole about 8 inches deep and 25 inches in diameter
  3. Add construction sand and clean dry dirt from the chicken yard
  4. Optional: add some dried herbs to the dust bath like oregano, mint, or lavender
creating a dust bath

Wooden crate dust bath

Create a lovely and comfy dust bath for your flock without digging into the chicken run. Re-use an old wooden crate, buy a box online or build one yourself. Fill the container with a 50/50 mix of soil and construction sand and place the crate in a dry and quiet location inside your chicken run. You’ll have to refill the wooden box regularly.

chicken inside a dust bath

Repurpose an Old Tire

Old tires are perfect containers for builder sand and come with the ideal dimensions. They have the ideal diameter for your chickens to feel comfortable and the perfect height to contain the sand. If your soil is sandy, mix it with construction sand to prevent cluttering. The sand will stick to the inside of the tire.

chicken tire dustbath

Some people spray paint the tires in flashy colors to pimp the chicken run and coop. However, always be very careful with your paint selection. Most paints contain toxic chemicals. The paint dries over time in the sun and peels from the rubber. Our birds love pecking these flashy-colored paint flakes.

Repurpose an old plastic crate

Shopping crates are great for getting your groceries. Until they break down. You can give them a second life by repurposing them as dust baths for your chickens. These crates are usually made of plastic with high-density polyethylene, making them durable and ready for any weather conditions.

chicken dustbath plastic crate

Other plastic containers can be:

  • an old baby pool, you might need to drill some holes to create a drain and prevent the dust bath from turning into a mud bath
  • a plastic barrel cut in half, balanced with some bricks or wood logs
  • a cat litter box comes in the right size for a single chicken bath

Repurpose Rubber Tubs

Rubber tubs used in livestock and building are another excellent material that will stand the test of time. They come in all sizes, from 3 to 15 gallons. The rubber is thick enough to drill some holes to let the water out in case of rain. Just make sure the tubs are properly cleaned, especially when they have been used for building purposes. You don’t want to find your chickens pecking on a mixture of grout and toxic tile adhesive.

Other Options

Almost any empty container can be used to make a dust bath. We’ve seen people repurpose a cracked shell pool for the kids, an old sandbox that ran out of use, or some cinder blocks leftovers. Be creative!

What happens if you don’t create a dust bath?

If you don’t provide a dust bath for your chickens, they will start digging holes in the soil to create one. And for some reason, they usually choose the spots in your garden that you really don’t want to be turned into a ball of mud.

If you want to protect your flowers and prevent them from gobbling up your geraniums, the safe choice is to provide a dust bath in your chosen location. And to be completely honest, they will sometimes still prefer another spot in the garden. They are chickens, after all.

Credits Featured Image: @stratford_chickens (IG)

Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.